Mandela Threatened With No Water, Power By Utility Company

Nelson Mandela, the iconic South African civil rights activist and former president, was threatened by utility companies because of an overdue bill. The bill was delivered to Mandela’s home in Johannesburg last week, threatening to turn off the water and electricity.

How much did Mandela supposedly owe? According to Yahoo! News, almost 6,500 rand, or $660 US, was unpaid to the utility company. The posted bill also threatened legal action, saying they would take the resident to court if needed if the amount was not paid within two weeks.

It’s safe to say that the utility company didn’t realize who they were threatening. Or if they did, they soon realized it was not a wise move. Realizing their mistake, representatives from the utility company made a public apology for the threatening notice. They claim that the notice was delivered in error, intended for a different home.

Attempting to make up for the embarrassing incident, utility officials have gone to visit with Mandela’s family to apologize personally. They say a full investigation has begun to find how this happened.

The notice was dated for August 1 and had been attached to the front of Mandela’s home. The Guardian reports that by Monday, it had disappeared. With Mandela’s residence surrounded by letters, flowers, and other expressions of support and sympathy, one would think the bill poster would have had second thoughts before pulling up the notice.

This is not the first time an overdue bill has been sent out wrongly. Last month the African National Congress, Mandela’s party, was mistakenly sent a bill for $355,000.

Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison for his anti-apartheid activism. He later went on to become South Africa’s first black president after setting up the country’s first black legal practice. Mandela has been in critical condition since early June but his family reports that he is getting better.

[Image via Matthew Willman /]